Having previously lived in Italy, the most recognised country in the world for its cuisine and food culture, I never thought any other country could challenge for this title… that was until I exchanged the cosmopolitan city life in Paris for a week for a culinary pilgrimage to the Pyreenees Atlantiques.
My parents and I decided to stay with some friends we hadn’t seen for over 14 years and as a result we had 14 years of catching up to do which required lots of wine and multiple courses.
The star of the show was the local proprieter who joined us for lunch and had the most in depth knowledge of food that I have every met – which is impressive considering that I have worked in catering for the past 6 years! Before even introducing ourselves to one another he had given me a 20 minute lecture on how to sautee potatoes and had made me try all sorts of homemade delights he had brought with him including an orange confiture and some different cheeses. He introduced me to Gizzards (an organ from the digestive track of a duck) which doesn’t sound particularly appetising when you descirbe them but are actually suprisingly delicious. He then spent the whole meal time describing to us in detail how to prepare every part of a pig to eat. Along with gaining a few kilograms listening and eating with this man he taught me some important things. The one that I will remmeber is that French people think they know a lot about wine but in reality as long as the wine has come no further than the region you are in then you’re guaranteed to have good wine. And if it has come form across the national borders… ooh la la!